Alex Cuba, Kay Meek Arts Centre, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m. Sold out.
Starting out on a cross-Canada tour, singer/songwriter Alex Cuba will perform tunes from his new album, Sublime, at West Vancouver’s Kay Meek Arts Centre on Wednesday, Nov. 6.
The show’s been sold out for a while in anticipation of the latest music from the Cuban expat who has been based in Smithers, B.C. for almost two decades.
Despite raising a family in a small town in northern B.C., far away from the world’s Latin music hotspots, Cuba says that has not been a detriment to his career. In fact, he thinks settling in Canada has helped him gain recognition internationally.
“When they listen to my music at the Latin Grammys or the Grammys, it sounds different. It sounds like nobody else in the world. I’m really happy with that.”
On Sublime, his seventh solo album, Cuba wrote some of the songs in Mexico, the rest in Smithers and enlisted several generations of Latin artists to join him as guest vocalists on some of the tracks, including emerging Mexican star Silvana Estrada, Nueva Trova founder Pablo Milanés and Buena Vista Social Club legend Omara Portuondo.
Cuba, who plays all the guitar and rhythm instruments on Sublime, worked out the songs in demos and brought in recording engineer John (Beetle) Bailey to get the sound just the way he wanted.
“Working with John was just a dream come true,” he says. “I really love his approach. I told him I wanted this to be an album about the songs.”
Looking for a good, live room to record percussion, Cuba and Bailey opted to use Garth Richardson’s studio in Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast.
The album cover for Sublime was designed by Erin Candela, an artist originally from Smithers who is now based in Toronto.
“I’ve seen her art over the years and it’s always fascinated me,” says Cuba. “She has a very particular style which is unique.”
Candela’s work has also been used on all the Sublime single release covers as well as a series of animated lyric videos the Guadalajara studio Alpaca Creative Media created for YouTube. All of the videos have been well received but one in particular, “Voz De Corazones,” is ‘blowing up’ with over 300,000 views and counting since July.
“I started finding an incredible relationship between my songs and what they are doing graphically,” says Cuba. “They really go hand in hand. We thought it was a very beautiful, artistic way to present the album.”